In a recent essay for Salon, I fight back against the culture of fear now dominant in the United States, paying particular attention to the hysteria surrounding college campuses. As an instructor at two different universities, I have never once seen any suppression of free speech, and I consistently find inspiration in my students. The data, largely unreported, confirms the veracity and universality of my experience.
In my new essay at Salon, which caught hell from conservatives and liberals, I review the data, and draw some logical and reasonable conclusions about Donald Trump’s supporters.
The conclusions are not pretty, but given what Trump has already done, and promises to do, to the United States, they are deservedly hideous.
In my new essay for the Daily Beast, I defend English Departments against the boneheaded belief that college students have no need to read narrative prose. In doing so, I also write about the techno-buffoonery and anti-intellectualism sweeping the country. The lowering cultural standards are particularly visible when major journals defend them.
As I begin the essay:
It is easy to observe the sad and sickly decline of American intellectual life, through the cultural and institutional lowering of standards, when prestigious publications promote the defense, if not the celebration, of lower standards.
Writing recently in TheNew Republic on the seemingly inevitable death of the college English department, James Pulizzi represents the shortsighted techno-boosterism and foolish progressivism that is rendering American culture increasingly superficial and frivolous.
“Within a few decades, contemporary literature departments will be largely extinct,” Pulizzi submits before predicting that “communications, composition, and media studies will take English’s place.”
Rather than expressing anxiety, or at least, worry over the impending destruction of one of the only mechanisms for introducing young Americans to a pillar of art, human history, and the Western tradition, Pulizzi credulously asks, “Why should college students read narrative prose when they get their fill of stories from television, cinema, and interactive video games?”
The late Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan once famously indicted the cultural condition of “defining deviancy down.” As standards migrate from the mountain to the basement, the formerly vulgar, indecent, and stupid becomes the norm. One can easily see how eventually thinkers like Pulizzi will delete a few words from their rhetorical question to simply ask, “Why should college students read?”
The worst labor practices in the country belong to the elite universities, and the most lucrative scam in American life, is the higher education hustle.
It is not difficult to find discussion in the mainstream media of the staggering and paralytic amounts of student debt that young Americans now struggle to pay after graduating college. It is easy to come across reports of rising tuition rates, but still hidden is a full expose of the higher education hustle.
That is, the big government and big education scam to create an administrative class at the universities, and increase government revenues through usury on student loans.
While colleges across the country increase tuition and hire more underpaid adjuncts to teach courses, they also hire a shameful amount of well-paid administrators. Three separate studies have confirmed that the number one cause of rising tuition rates is “administrative bloat.”
The higher education hustle story recently became even more important when the American left went into convulsions over the hourly wages of McDonald’s employees. Liberals insist that part time cashiers at fast food restaurants, most of whom are high school or college students, deserve a “living wage.” Yet, those same liberals are amazingly silent on the issue of poverty pay for adjunct instructors, who have Master’s Degrees or PhD’s, and according to a study from Northwestern University, are better at teaching that tenured faculty.
I issue a full indictment of the university system, and the higher education hustle, in my new column – “Living Wage? It’s Often Missing on College Campuses”.
The Indianapolis Star has run my new essay on the reasons behind the absurd and paralytic costs of higher education. In the op-ed piece, I indict and condemn the venal, corrupt, and cruel system of higher education in America, calling it a “lucrative playground for tenured faculty, many of whom make well over $100,000 per year for teaching two or three courses a semester, and administration, whose mysterious duties and invisible tasks earn some of them annual salaries over $200,000.”
As I explain in the article, multiple studies have connected “administrative bloat” with the exorbitant increases in college tuition. University employees are enriching themselves, while they scam students and their families, and pay adjunct instructors miserly wages for carrying the same work loads as their tenured peers. They pull off the heist all while congratulating themselves for advocating “social justice,” “diversity”, and “multiculturalism.”
The cost of higher education leaves countless young people paying off heavy debts for their entire lives. It has become one of the most important factors in the lives of millions of Americans, yet no major political figure or media commentator tackles the problem. Mitch Daniels, former governor of Indiana and current president of Purdue, has broken the trend of complacency, by announcing a tuition freeze and promising to cut the Purdue budget by $40 million. My article summarizes the situation and places the issue in its proper context. I call the Daniels story one of the most important in America.
On an interesting side note, I pitched the story to several other major publications – news and culture magazines, left wing websites, and right wing websites – but everyone passed. I’d like to thank The Star for its courage in spotlighting the story. It seems that issue of student debt is not yet on the nation’s radar. To put it simply, most people don’t care, but when the student loan bubble pops, everyone will be wondering what happened and why no one tried to stop it. The bleak outlook of the future is why Daniels’ new crusade is so important.